I hate being wrong. I really do hate it. I loathe it, despise it and avoid it all costs.
I have a friend, actually a cyber friend, a woman whom I've never met. (we communicate through facebook, and MSN chat quite a bit - I've "known" her for 4 years now...WOW) She has, however, met my husband and taken him shopping for diamonds to go on my finger which he bought, in her presence, therefore making her my friend. HAHA. She is the person who regularly proves me wrong but when she proves me wrong, I'm actually pretty happy about it. She is the whole reason I got on Facebook when I adamantly swore I would never because I thought it was horrible (you all know I'm an addict now, right?) and she is the reason that I made this bread. She has been going on and on about the greatness of pizza dough that she made, and all the great uses she could get out of it. I listened, but in the back of my mind thought, I can get pizza dough pre-made from Trader Joe's or elsewhere - WHY BOTHER. But since she has regularly proven me wrong, I gave in and said WHY NOT.
And now, I ask myself, WHY DID I WAIT THIS LONG? Making breads at home is fun and easy and dare I say it - totally worth it! And this is the first post of many where I will be using the this olive oil master dough, and turning it into many other things. This master dough recipe comes from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. This book will change the way you think about baking bread - and turns it into something that is doable, non-challenging and fun.
Olive Oil Master Dough (from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
Makes 4 1lb loaves. This recipe is easily doubled or halved
2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (I bought the Fleishman's Yeast in a jar, and then stored it in my fridge after opening)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I substituted 2 tablespoons of honey)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 4 cups regular unbleached all purpose flour and 2 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour)
1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with the water in a 5-qt bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a large wooden spoon. (because of my hand problem, I did use my stand mixer with the dough hook. You do NOT need a stand mixer, just mix with a large wooden spoon.)
3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. It will rise and get super big. You can use the dough at this point, or refrigerate and use over next 12 days.To make one flatbread, pinch off a grapefruit sized piece of dough. When you do this, your dough will deflate. This is okay, as it will rise again later. Loosely cover and refrigerate the rest to use over the next 12 days. (or less if you are a motivated flatbread maker like me!)
** Preparation tip - make this Sunday night, after the kids are in bed...it'll take you 15 minutes to make. Let it rise and then stick it in the fridge to have hand for the week of food you can make with it.
Antipasti Salad Flatbread
The actual inspiration for the topping of the flatbread came from my fridge - it's what was inside. I had some mozzarella cheese, some salami, basil, cherry tomatoes, and arugula - all leftover, and it sounded like a good combination to put together. Play around with the flavors of what goes on top and don't be limited by this recipe - try new things and new flavors to put together.
1 grapefruit sized chunk of olive oil master dough (put the rest in the fridge, loosely covered.)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/4 lb salami
4 cups of arugula
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 500. Place inside the oven an inverted baking sheet. (If you have a pizza stone, good for you!) You want this baking sheet to get good and hot so that you can crisp and brown the bottom.
2. Lightly flour your work surface and the grapefruit ball of dough. Gently work the dough. If the dough has been refrigerated, it may need 10 minutes or so to warm up slightly to be more pliable. If it is dough that has been freshly made, then it should be easy enough. You want to stretch and work the dough as thin as possible. I figure out towards the end the best technique of doing this - and that is using two fists under the dough and gently working it. I wasn't too concerned about the shape because I figured I could cut it into squares neatly for serving later. I had some tears which wasn't ideal, but didn't stress out about it. When the dough is ready, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and place the dough on top. (I heard a soft sizzling sound which made me feel good for some reason.)
3. Brush olive oil on top of the bread. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella cheese.
4. Put inverted baking sheet back into the oven. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown and lovely.
5. In a mixing bowl, mix cherry tomatoes (cut in half if necessary), basil, salami, and arugula. Quickly whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss all together and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Cut flatbreads into attractive shapes. Portion the salad on top. Serve and enjoy!